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Twitter Erupts as Lionel Messi, Argentina Beat Netherlands in World Cup Classic

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 9, 2022

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR - DECEMBER 09: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring the team's second goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Stadium on December 09, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Lionel Messi took another step toward what would be a crowning achievement as Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout Friday in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Argentina appeared to be home clear in the final stages of the match, and Wout Weghorst's opener in the 83rd was little more than a consolation at first. But the Dutch kept pushing forward and found the equalizer through a brilliant set piece finished off by Weghorst in stoppage time.

B/R Football @brfootball

100th minute. In the quarterfinals of the World Cup. <br><br>THIS REALLY HAPPENED 🫠<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/TelemundoSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TelemundoSports</a>) <a href="https://t.co/jVIi1m3PYg">pic.twitter.com/jVIi1m3PYg</a>

The match went to a penalty shootout after neither country could break the deadlock in extra time. The Netherlands' first two penalty takers, Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis, saw their attempts saved by Argentina keeper Emi Martínez, which put the South Americans firmly in control. Lautaro Martínez converted the winner to send the Argentines through.

It was a suitably dramatic conclusion to an instant classic.

Sung Min Kim @sung_minkim

<a href="https://t.co/wZN0WDh9Xl">pic.twitter.com/wZN0WDh9Xl</a>

Mike Ryan (Ruiz) 🙌🏽 @MichaelRyanRuiz

One of the greatest matches ever

Bethany Balcer @bethanybalcer

i know people hate penalties but OMG I LOVE THEM WHEN IM NOT IN THEM

Lindsay Gibbs @linzsports

WHAT I THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO RUN ERRANDS IN THE SECOND HALF

Jeff Kassouf @JeffKassouf

This game has had everything. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEDARG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NEDARG</a>

Sean Ingle @seaningle

With the score at 3-3 in the shootout Lautaro Martinez steps up and SCORES! Argentina are through after what was a match for the ages

Matt Norlander @MattNorlander

Sports. Forever the best.

Brian Phillips @brianphillips

I need medical assistance. I need oxygen. I need an emotional support animal. I need to jump out of an airplane. I need to fight a bear.

Tom Adams @tomadams83

What. A. Game. Had absolutely everything

Lionel Messi delivered a standout performance that was overshadowed by the Dutch comeback.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has been an integral member of the national team, totaling three goals and one assist entering Friday. He added a second assist when he found Nahuel Molina for Argentina's opener in the 35th minute.

B/R Football @brfootball

THIS. <br><br>MESSI. <br><br>PASS. <br><br>🤤<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FOXSoccer</a>) <a href="https://t.co/NbPG00L6qn">pic.twitter.com/NbPG00L6qn</a>

Social media was in unison in expressing awe at Messi's pass.

Jack Pitt-Brooke @JackPittBrooke

Is that the best - and most important? - no-look pass ever?

Mina Kimes @minakimes

DONT YELL AT ME FOR MAKING AN NFL COMP, SOCCER TWITTER but that Messi pass was downright Mahomesian

Oliver Holt @OllieHolt22

Pretty much the best reverse pass you'll ever see <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Messi?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Messi</a>

Matthew Doyle @MattDoyle76

Messi is god.

Joe Prince-Wright @JPW_NBCSports

🤯 Lionel Messi what a pass, what vision. Incredible. How did he even see it!?

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

LIONEL MESSI HOW?!?! 🤯 <a href="https://t.co/1f4U9wwQSe">pic.twitter.com/1f4U9wwQSe</a>

After Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuña in the 18-yard box, Messi doubled Argentina's lead from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute.

The goal symbolized the sense of inevitability surrounding the 35-year-old.

Brad Cox @BradJCox_

The footballing gods have decided it's his and their year. Write it on the trophy, nobody is stopping Lionel Messi and Argentina. I'm not sure if anybody can stop him.

Don Van Natta Jr. @DVNJr

The keeper never moved. Messi. Automatic.

Ryan O'Hanlon @rwohan

Now that Messi is having the best World Cup of his career at age 35, I've moved him from no. 1 to no. 1 in my rankings of the best soccer players of all time.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ARG?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ARG</a> Lionel Messi tied Gabriel Batistuta for most <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIFAWorldCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIFAWorldCup</a> goals for Argentina (10).<br><br>Messi is the 14th man to score 10+ FIFA WC goals. <a href="https://t.co/vyBRyilCeD">pic.twitter.com/vyBRyilCeD</a>

Argentina will meet Croatia in the semifinals on Dec. 13 after the Croatians knocked out Brazil in a penalty shootout earlier on Friday.

On paper, that's the easier of the two opponents, but Croatia's defensive strength can't be overlooked. Zlatko Dalić's squad gave up one goal in the group stage and held Japan and Brazil to one goal apiece in the knockout stages.

Messi's brilliance could be required once again to seal Argentina's passage to the World Cup final for the second time in the last three tournaments.